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A person with even one knife will later or sooner have to look for a knife sharpener. This is just like students in schools need pencil sharpeners for their pencils. While there are several types of knife sharpeners, they all are a part of broader sharpener categories.
One such broad category is portable knife sharpeners. This post throws light on the basics of these sharpeners and shares reviews of top pocket knife sharpeners.
The intention behind introducing the essential information is that you need to comprehend what these sharpeners are, why to use them, and what their types are. Only then can you make an informed choice.
Further, to simplify your search, the post reveals the 5 Best pocket knife sharpeners, in our opinion.
What is a Pocket Knife Sharpener?
Well, this question may sound a bit silly, but it is not. It is right to ask if you will be sharpening for the first time and are unaware of these sharpeners. You may, indeed, not know what this sharpener is. Thus, you may even wonder whether it is a sharpener for pocket knives or is a pocket-sized sharpener. We are discussing the latter here.
Well, a pocket knife sharpener is a portable tool designed for those who want to sharpen a knife’s blade on the go. Most of these models typically come with diamond and ceramic abrasives. However, a few feature a sharpening rod for handling serrated blades as well as pointed edges.
If you are looking for standard knife sharpeners, we have a great article on that here. If you are looking for a cheap knife sharpener, read about them here.
5 Best Pocket Knife Sharpeners of 2023
Lansky PS-MED01 BladeMedic
For anyone new to the world of sharpening blades, an easy-to-use sharpener is likely to be the best one. Luckily, the Lansky BladeMedic sharpener is so simple that even a beginner can start using it swiftly. It is a precise, lasting, and portable model made for sharpening any blade at the 22.5-degree edge.
This Lanskey pocket sharpener comes with four stones in a metallic case. The tungsten carbide stone in V shape set at 40 degrees discards the nicks and restores the blade in only up to four swipes. Then, another four strokes of the ceramic stone in the same shape and set at 40 degrees polish the edge to a finished look.
The serrated ceramic section handles even the finest-toothed serrations. Further, a retractable 600-grit tapered diamond rod takes care of re-conditioning. This rod is noticeably longer than average due to which the process is quicker and more convenient.
- Light and portable
- Quick and convenient
- Ideal for beginners
- Ideal for standard and serrated blades
- Firm grip
- Lanyard hole included
- Not so great diamond rod
Smith’s PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener
Weighing only 0.3 ounces, the Smith’s PP1 sharpener is the lightest pocket-sized model to consider. The small structure comes with carbide stones (coarse slot) that set an edge swiftly and a ceramic stone (fine slot) that ensures a razor-sharp finish.
These stones are replaceable and reversible to ensure a lasting sharpening function. The inclusion of a pull-out, tapered diamond rod takes care of serrated edges. The Smith’s pocket knife sharpener also has pre-set sharpening angles. This means you only insert the blade and make strokes to get the desired sharpness.
- Ideal for standard and serrated blades
- Accelerated sharpening
- Thumb grip
- Replaceable and reversible stones
- Lanyard hole included
- Not for big hands
DMD Mini Pocket Knife Sharpener – Pocket Whetstone sharpener
This one is a pocket-sized whetstone ideal for sharpening the normal steel knives. It has two plates or sides, namely, a ceramic plate to have a super-sharp edge and a diamond plate for handling a dull edge.
The coarse plate features a 400-grit diamond to ensure a swift touch up. On the other hand, the extra-fine plate of ceramic features a fine stage for blade polishing.
For many knife users, nothing can substitute a whetstone when it is a matter of sharpening knives. Nevertheless, traditional whetstones are typically large and hefty enough. Now, for the outdoor fans, such a sharpener is certainly a deal-breaker. However, this DMD sharpener is not!
It is so compact that it fits nicely into your pocket. It is also a light whetstone to consider for outdoor use.
- Extremely light and small
- Super hard surface
- Super portable
- Very efficient
- Value for money
- Lifetime warranty diamond wear out
- Too small for some
Sharpal 101N 6-In-1 Pocket Knife Sharpener & Survival Tool
Consider this super affordable sharpener if you want to remain prepared anytime while moving through the backwoods. This versatile model can sharpen any blade of any tool, including the serrated one. The sharpener features tungsten as well as ceramic blades for this purpose.
Once sharpening is quickly done using tungsten carbide blades, you can make a nicely honed edge quite conveniently due to the ceramic blades and compact design. The 400-grit rod of diamond handles serrations.
The sharpener also has an emergency whistle making a loud sound and a fire starter, both being quite useful when outdoors.
- Easy to spot due to orange look
- Versatile enough to sharpen different tools
- Fast edge setting
- Fine honing
- Whistle and fire starter included
- Super affordable
- More strokes required
Spyderco Tri-Angle Premium Sharpmaker
This is the most versatile model in this list of best pocket knife sharpeners. Not only can it handle all types of knives for sharpening, but it also can sharpen scissors and other tools.
It features ceramic (fine) and grit (medium) stones of high quality for retaining knives and other tools sharp. The two alumina ceramic stones are capable of handling plain as well as flat edges.
The sharpener’s components tend to snap into the case made up of ABS plastic. This case makes up the base for convenient carrying and storage.
Further, the sharpener’s base is drilled with a couple of holes. This indicates that you can attach it to a countertop forever if you wish to do so. Consider this model if you would like to sharpen tools like a pro, as it is a pricey model.
- Exceptionally versatile to handle diverse edges and tools
- Easy carrying
- Accommodative storage
- Permanent attachment to a countertop
- Scissor sharpener included
- A bit heavy
- Somewhat pricey
Why You Need a Pocket Knife Sharpener?
A sharp knife is essential regardless of whether you are camping, hiking, defending someone, or doing military workouts. This is because a blunt knife simply cannot help you in these tasks.
Moreover, a blunt edge, contrary to the common belief, is more dangerous than a sharp one. It can harm you at the time of use and even when you simply hold it. It can also make you end up with unfinished chores.
Certainly, you will be using the packed knives quite frequently. So, you need to maintain as well as sharpen it whenever it turns blunt. During these outdoor tasks or adventures, you will usually be away from cities and towns.
Thus, there would be no shops nearby for buying new knives or sharpeners. In case you find one as a souvenir store, the price will be high. There would also not be any knife repair or service centers nearby. This is why you need to carry a pocket knife sharpener.
There are many portable sharpeners for pocket and other knives, all of which are light and small. Regardless of which one you buy, there will be no feeling of uneasiness while carrying it in your backpack or pocket. After all, a big and heavy sharpener is just not an efficient choice for carrying in the outdoors.
Another reason to have a good pocket knife sharpener is its versatility. These sharpeners are not only for sharpening pocket knives but also for other outdoor knives. These knives include cooking, tactical, and survival. They can aid in retaining their sharpness in a few quick glides while on the go.
One more reason to carry a pocket knife sharpener is the premium packing space. No outdoor enthusiast will prefer to pack and carry a whole sharpening kit on their journey through the woods. This is because adding more weight to the backpack is adding the same to one’s shoulders too. Lugging also becomes more challenging, isn’t it?
Thus, for those who are conscious of packing weight, a light, and compact knife sharpener to hone the edge becomes indispensable. You can easily store this device in your pack’s pocket.
So, why not have a portable sharpener while on the move? Okay, you may hesitate to use it for sharpening. This may be because you may not be a professional. However, a high-quality, versatile model with friendly sharpening features will ensure easy sharpening of even a serrated blade.
Types of Pocket Knife Sharpeners
Did you know that there are various types of pocket knife sharpeners you can get? Each of them has distinct benefits and limitations. Based on these aspects, you can decide which one could be the most suitable for you. So, let’s explore them.
- Sharpening Rods: Are ideal for countless knife users; they are typically easy to use, affordable, and retain blades as sharp as fresh. They also will not shave much metal due to which the lifespan of your knife is never decreased. Nevertheless, they come with a fixed angle due to which they are not for sharpening tailored or custom-made knives. There are varieties too here. In some pocket knife sharpeners, there exist two small rods at a specific angle, which are made of diamond or ceramic. Then, there are simple steel rods that are typically used for sharpening kitchen knives. They are long and are designed using steel or ceramic. Do not expect super sharpness from them. Still, you can try one for maintaining your pocket knives frequently.
- V-Shaped or Pull-through Sharpeners: Are perhaps the most commonly used pocket knife sharpeners. One of the primary reasons for this is the structure of two hard material pieces positioned in a V shape. Compact in design, these sharpeners are easy to carry. They function more efficiently than you may expect by promptly smoothening all blade nicks, put a rough edge, reintroduce a grind, and are affordable. On the flip side, these sharpeners can shave off much metal if you apply much pressure downward. However, if you do not press sufficiently, not enough metal will be removed, and the desired sharpness will not be attained. Moreover, as it is challenging to ensure uniform pressure throughout the process, you may end up with a recurved edge that was originally straight.
- Whetstones or Sharpening Stones: Are perhaps the most efficient sharpeners for sharpening steel blades, according to many knife owners. They are fine-grained and are made using ceramic or diamond. These sharpening stones can even be a blend of rock, concrete, and diamond dust. Flat models are meant for flat edges; whereas, the curved ones are meant for dealing with complex edges. Many sharpeners come with a long and slender stone. So, do not expect a big stone always. Regardless of the stone size, you can expect a sharp outcome in a surprisingly short time. These sharpeners are more versatile than the rods or V-shaped sharpeners. As freehand sharpening forms the base of whetstones, they are functional on most blades you use. The sharpening stones require some know-how due to which you may initially take time to get used to it, especially if you are using it for the first time. At times, you may end up giving a lot of time to learning one until your hand is steady.
- Strops: Refer typically to a flat elastic piece. Strops are typically glued to a wooden piece for being stable. Although these sharpeners are ideal for straight razors, they are equally reliable for EDC knives. In terms of efficient functionality, strops are great at discarding burrs and improving the edge. Nevertheless, a few knife owners do not prefer using strops, as they feel that rods are sufficient enough for sharpening.
- Hones: Work similar to a sharpening rod, as it removes a small quantity of metal. However, they may be unable to recover a profoundly blunt edge, although ideal for polishing post sharpening. These sharpeners are available in different shapes and sizes.
- Slot Sharpeners are quite popular for sharpening pocket knives. Due to slots integrated into them, these sharpeners are easy to use. On the slots, you pull the blade to generate strokes for sharpening it. As available in different angles, the slot sharpeners are ideal for beginners. You can use them with different blades, ranging right from straight to curved as well as serrated.
- Multifunctional Sharpeners are models with additional features such as a compass, a fire starter, and a light. They are preferred by the outdoor buffs, as they also act as alternate survival kits.
Technical but Important Sharpener Aspects
Before you search or buy a pocket knife sharpener, it is essential to know some of its technical aspects that help you in choosing the most appropriate model. Without comprehending as well as considering them at the time of buying, you may be unable to get the desired results. So, let’s explore them!
- Hard Grinding or Abrasive Surface: This is the fundamental nature of any knife sharpener. A hard or abrasive surface is needed to endure grinding against the metal. Also known as grit, the abrasiveness refers to the fineness or coarseness of the sharpening stone. It signifies the proficiency of the material medium to polish, sharpen, shape, and grind the edge. Diamond is one of the hard abrasive surfaces used for quick sharpening. Then, comes tungsten carbide featuring medium abrasiveness and ceramic whose fine surface is useful for polishing such that you are ensured of razor-like sharpness. Any sharpening medium’s abrasiveness is gauged in grit. A fine sharpener will have a high grit. For instance, a sharpener with a 180-grit is quite coarse, whereas the one possessing 1000 grit is fine. You need to check out for the grit number, as each one signifies a sharpening stage as follows:
- First Stage: Coarse grit is useful for discarding nicks and reshaping the edge.
- Second Stage: Medium grit for sharpening; fine to extremely-fine grit stones help in polishing and finishing the blade.
Following are some grits to consider as per their tasks:
- 220 grit for mending or reshaping
- 300 grit for too dull knives
- 1000 grit for normal sharpening
- 6000 grit for standard finishing
- 8000 grit for polishing or having the sharpest edge
- Angle: This is a major contributor to the sharpening result. Sharpeners with adjustable angles often provide a better outcome and are simple to use. For obtaining the best result, it is vital to know the most suitable sharpening angle for your knife type. This information is usually present in the instruction manual. For outdoor and pocket knives, a sharpening angle of 20/25 – 30 degrees is required. For other knives, the preferred angle is lower.
A quality pocket knife sharpener is the need of an hour for all those who spend their maximum time outdoors with different knives. Choose the one that can deal with diverse edges and ensures a lasting outcome.
Hi, I am Jay. I am the creator of Knife Guides, your one-stop site for everything related to knives. I am a computer engineer by profession, knife aficionado by passion. Here I work with a group of people who’ve always had a passion for knives and blades. Over the years we’ve kind of become experts and decided to share our knowledge and ideas. I am also an avid hiker and enjoy offshore gamefishing.